The Health Benefits of Reading Before Bed
By Sara Butler
When you were a kid, you may have been the type that liked to hide under the covers with a flashlight after bedtime to continue reading your favorite comic book. You may gotten in trouble then, but there’s evidence that it might be time to resurrect that childhood habit.
Reading has been linked to a variety of benefits and curling up with a good book right before bed may help you to sleep better too. Here are a few ways that reading before bed can help you sleep better and benefit your health at the same time.
It Reduces Stress
Reading is an escape. You can get caught up in a completely different world where you merely turn pages to find out who did it or if their hero will conquer all. Focusing on a book plot has other benefits too, such as helping you to let go of the stresses of your day. When you read, you don’t obsess over deadlines or that pile of laundry waiting to be folded. Instead, you keep your thoughts focused, which can help you fall asleep easier.
Try picking up a book about 30 minutes before bed. Just make sure to go the old-fashioned route and read a real book by lamplight. The blue light from your smartphone or other reading devices might actually make it harder to fall asleep.
It Reduces Screen Time
Speaking of putting away your smartphone, reading before bed also reduces your exposure to the blue light emitted from phones and tablets. This light can interfere with your body’s ability to release the hormones that help to regulate sleep. But the text in an old-fashioned book won’t interfere with your sleep as long as you avoid staying up too late to finish the book!
It’s Part of a Ritual
When you establish a regular bedtime routine, it helps you to fall asleep faster. If you have kids, you’ve seen this in action, since children thrive on the same routine each night before bed. Make reading a part of your ritual and you’ll send a signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down and get some sleep. Reading can be a very enjoyable and relaxing way to usher in the mood and get to sleep. Quite frankly, it could become your favorite part of the day.
When was the last time you picked up a good book?
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